Tensions were running high in Charlotte, NC, as The Cult rolled into The Fillmore this past Wednesday for a stop on their fall “Alive In The Hidden City” tour. The city had erupted into chaos over an officer involved shooting and protests were going on all over the uptown area. In fact, it wasn’t until a few hours before the show that I received confirmation that the concert would go on as planned as many other events had been cancelled.
The AvidXchange Music Factory was eerily empty as I arrived at the venue. Things appeared more normal inside The Fillmore as fans began to arrive in anticipation of The Cult. Due to the circumstances, the crowd was understandably subdued but once the lights went dark all that changed. When Cult frontman Ian Astbury took the stage and the band tore into the first song of the evening “Wild Flower,” all our troubles disappeared. For the next hour and forty five minutes, rock and roll provided an escape from the dark reality just outside the doors giving fans a reason to hope and a much needed reprieve. The band was tight with guitarist Billy Duffy letting his fingers do the talking all evening long. Drummer John Tempesta was a force to be reckoned with behind the kit with Grant Fitzpatrick keeping the bass lines flowing as Damon Fox alternated between guitar and keyboards as needed. Astbury took a moment to address the crowd as he said “Your city is under siege but The Cult is here to bring the love,” before grabbing a tambourine and launching into “Dark Energy.” The band is out in support of their tenth studio album “Hidden City” and newer songs “Birds of Paradise” and “Deeply Ordered Chaos” fit nicely into the setlist alongside Cult classics. The stage set up was fairly low key with just a variety of lights as the focus of the night was on the songs themselves. Astbury’s vocals were as large as his persona with his voice perfectly complementing his charismatic presence on stage. A highlight of the show were racous versions of “Sweet Soul Sister” and “Fire Woman” which got the crowd pumped up as they grooved along. Closing their set with “She Sells Sanctuary,” The Cult took a brief break before returning for a two song encore with audience favorite “Love Removal Machine” capping off the night.
As I exited The Fillmore to the sounds of police and news helicopters circling overhead, I took a moment to reflect on the evening and to soak it all in. Music can be a unifying force and truly soothe the soul. Perhaps the city of Charlotte can learn a lesson from Ian Astbury and The Cult. Maybe all we really need to do is “Bring the Love.”
Birds of Paradise
Deeply Ordered Chaos
Sweet Soul Sister
She Sells Sanctuary
Love Removal Machine
We would like to thank Angela Moreno and Aaron Feterl from Reckoning PR for the credentials to review the show.